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  #1  
Old 09-04-2010, 01:45 AM
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Default Treatment of handles on walking sticks?

OK, the handle,to me, is the most important part of the stick. It's where you have the contact during a hike and must be durable and comfortable. There aren't enough tutorials on treatment of the handles IMO. I sure would like to get some ideas and instruction on doing the grips. I know there are numerous ways to do this and I want to know as many as I can.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I've learned a lot from this site and cherish all instruction.

Thanks, Tim
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Old 09-04-2010, 01:14 PM
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Default Re: Treatment of handles on walking sticks?

Tim,

I usually leave the grip area alone and leave anywhere from 8 - 10 inches above it for carving. Usually that will be a woodspirit or some other fairly quick and easy thing. The one that I use is a sorta elaborate stick that is like a demo. I have the grip area wrapped with leather thonging glued in place with a wrist loop. It has a compass embedded into the top of it (25mm if memory serves correct), and a rubber tip where it meets the ground. There are a few extra carvings on it and a pair of imitation eagle feathers. You can get all kinds of embellishments from Treeline and Crazy Crow (links below), but back to the grip area, most folks will look at mine and do their own, which is good since then I don't feel the need to charge them so much for it. The occasional customer will request that I "dress it up" for them, and I will do that for extra $$. Its kinda easy to get carried away with it and that is OK, but if you are using the stick for nature hiking then plain is better. Nothing to hang up on the brush or make noise and scare critters away before you get a chance to see them.

Walking Sticks and Canes

Native American Indian Craft Supplies- Indian Craft Supply- Buckskinner Supply

You may have to copy/paste these in as I just used the "Quick Reply" method to respond to your post.

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  #3  
Old 09-05-2010, 12:46 PM
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Default Re: Treatment of handles on walking sticks?

I made a comfortable hand grip by wrapping the staff with rope. Unfortunately the rope stretched and became loose. The fix was to re-wrap the rope over a thin coat of epoxy. BTW don't use white rope (don't ask how I know).
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Old 09-05-2010, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: Treatment of handles on walking sticks?

I like to use the natural curves of the wood if possible for handles. I have just finished a small walking stick in Blackthorn. Once I have rough shaped the area that will serve as a handle I start to smooth back using a ever decreasing roughness of emery cloth 40,60,80,120,180, 240 at this point I brush / cloth on a coat of Shellac this raises the wood and slightly hardens it. I then continue rub down the handle between Shellac. You are then polishing the Shellac to get a smooth finish. I use grades 600, finishing with 1200 grade emery /sandpaper. You can then finish with a hardwood sealer, varnish or wax. Hope this helps I have posted some pictures but they do not do the stick justice. The bottom of the shaft was damaged so i had to remove the bark!!!

Paul
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  #5  
Old 09-06-2010, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: Treatment of handles on walking sticks?

I carve an imprint of the fingers and thumb on the handle where the grip should take place. It is simple and easy and the customers love it.
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: Treatment of handles on walking sticks?

I have always wrapped my handles in leather strips. I tend to buy the rolls that sell at craft shops and pick up a few different colours. Cut an angle on the first strip of leather so it blends into the rest when applied and there is no square edge to see. Usually glue about three to four inches at a time by aplying contact cement to the wood and stretching out the leather and aplying the glue as well. When set just start wrapping being sure to push the leather towards tha stuff already on so there are no gaps. If there are you can always buff them out with a smooth object. It takes a little time but the results are worth it. I have some over 15 years old and they are still in excellent shape. I tried to add a picture to show as an example but they are of a poor quality.
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:25 AM
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Default Re: Treatment of handles on walking sticks?

Thanks for the info everyone. I currently just carve a comfortable grip and sand it smooth. I'm going to try some of your suggestions in the near future.

Tim
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: Treatment of handles on walking sticks?

The upcarver has a good idea, I have done this as well just pencil in around UR fingers and use a gouge to make UR fingers fit the stick..
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:12 AM
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Default Re: Treatment of handles on walking sticks?

I will have ago at carving the finger prints on the handle idea. I like it thanks guys. thats what I love about this site you always get great fresh ideas.

Paul

The Woodland Way
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:39 AM
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Default Re: Treatment of handles on walking sticks?

I think if you are keeping your stick or have access to the hand of the person for whom the stick is being made, carving the finger spaces makes sense. However, if you are making sticks to sell to the general public, I've found that carving the finger spaces can work against you.

Everybodys' hands are different and it also makes a difference if a person is right or left handed. I've lost sales when the potential customer liked the stick but the grip didn't suit.

Now I do the same as Duffer2. Shape the handle into smooth contours and then wrap it in leather thong. The leather give a good grip and also absorbs sweat when getting hard use, making it a better hold than a finish that doesn't absorb moisture.

I use kangaroo thong cause its what we've got here, but I imagine any good leather thong would do. I don't usually cut the end of the leather piece off but use it to attach beads or small carvings to the work to make it look more interesting. I also fit a compass to the top of the handle in models where the carving is below the handle.



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